Tony La Russa defends the Dbacks’ plunking of Andrew McCutchen. And it’s ridiculous.

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Tony La Russa was asked about the Dbacks-McCutchen affair. Tony La Russa, it seems, wants to blame the victim. Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports:

“I don’t see where the Diamondbacks should catch all this (expletive) they’re catching,” La Russa said . . . La Russa believes the Pirates were still responsible regardless of intent.

The crux of his argument lies in what he believes to be the Pirates’ pitching philosophy. They don’t just pitch inside, La Russa said. They pitch up and in. And by choosing to do so, they have to live with the consequences.

Which is idiotic baloney. Since when are there consequences for accidents? And indeed, the hitting of Paul Goldschmidt was clearly an accident and there is no one in their right mind who can say it wasn’t. To claim, then, that the Pirates were to blame for this is nonsensical.

If, however, his view is that the mere fact of pitching up and in is the offense — not hitting Goldschmidt – then congratulations, Tony, you have added yet another page to the overflowing Unwritten Rules Book you authored when you were manager of the Cardinals. Thou Shalt Not Pitch Up and In can go right next to Thou Shalt Not Be Angry With Oneself For Messing Up and It Is Perfectly Alright For Pitchers To Shout Expletives At Hitters When They Do Not Succeed. There are scores of others too. They make no sense and are often contradictory, but the common thread is that whatever team Tony La Russa happens to be working for at the time is correct and the other team is disrespectful and wrong.

This is pure bull and La Russa either knows it is or thinks we’re all idiots. Or maybe both. I have no idea. All I do know is that Major League Baseball’s failure to discipline Randall Delgado or Kirk GIbson over Saturday’s incident is a disgrace.

Astros defend barring reporter from clubhouse

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As we wrote about this morning, last night the Houston Astros, at the request of Justin Verlander, barred Detroit Free Press reporter Anthony Fenech from the clubhouse during Verlander’s media availability following the Tigers-Astros game. After Verlander was done talking to the press in the scrum setting — and after a call was placed to Major League Baseball about the matter — Fenech was allowed in.

As we noted, this was done in violation of agreements to which Major League Baseball, the Houston Astros and the Baseball Writers Association of America are parties. The agreements are meant to ensure full access to BBWAA-accredited reporters as long as they have not violated the terms of their credentials.  In no case do the clubs — and certainly not the players — have the right to bar access to BBWAA-accredited reporters. Indeed, the whole point of the BBWAA is to ensure such access and to ensure that teams cannot bar them simply because they are unhappy with their coverage or what have you.

This morning Verlander tweeted, obliquely, about “unethical behavior” on the part of Fenech that led to his request to the Astros to bar him. As we noted at the time, such an allegation — however interesting it might be — is of no consequence to the admission or barring of a reporter. If Fenech has acted unethically it’s a matter between him and his employer and, potentially, between him and the BBWAA. At the very least, if Verlander has a specific concern, it would be incumbent upon him or the Astros to take the matter up with either the Free Press or the BBWAA.

In light of all of this, it’s hard to make a case for Verlander’s request and the Astros’ honoring it. A few moments ago, however, the Astros released as statement on the matter which, basically, says, “so what?”

Which is to say, the Astros have made a decades-long agreement between the BBWAA and MLB regarding reporter access optional, because a player does not like a reporter who is covering him.  Someone without the power to alter the BBWAA-MLB relationship has just done so unilaterally. And they have done so in such a way that any player, should they decide they don’t like a reporter, will now presumably rely on it as precedent. Finally, it should be noted that in issuing this statement, the Astros have given at least some tacit credence to Verlander’s thus far unsubstantiated and unspecified allegations of unethical behavior on the part of Fenech, which seems less-than-ideal at best.

It’s your move, Major League Baseball and BBWAA. Whatcha gonna do about it?